You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
There are currently more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world today. That number of users is increasing every day. People love smartphones because of the convenience and functionalities. These little gadgets have simplified our lives thanks to the apps in them. Mobile apps simplify every day’s tasks.
Apps are also making many people rich too. Many startups have sprung up all over the world developing thousands of mobile apps. How do they come up with these app ideas and can you do it too?
1. Forget the money… for now
If you want to develop a new mobile app, the first thing you need to know is that an app is not necessarily a business or startup idea. There are numerous apps just developed to solve a problem or just provide entertainment. Your app idea must not be geared towards income. Focus on creating a great app first. Do not think about the money when getting started. What you need to do is come up with an idea that will attract many users. Even if you want a startup, you will need a proof of concept before investors can back you up.
2. Adaptation of existing apps
Looking at the existing app for inspiration or cloning is a great and one of the easiest ways of coming up with an app idea. You can look at the popular apps and emulate their concepts. Even the big boys do this. Just look at how Facebook and Twitter find inspiration from each other.
Many social media apps are also probably inspired by Facebook’s success. Do not be shy of look at the crowded spaces, therefore. A crowded space means that there is a good idea there. In any case, even if you develop a new idea, and it turns out to be a hit, you will get competition eventually.
The only way you can avoid competition is by having a terrible idea. You don’t want that, do you? You can also look in the app stores and find two or more apps that you can combine to an exciting, different app.
Many mobile app ideas are a product of brainstorming with colleagues, family, or friends. Get a group of your family or friends and let them know that you want to develop an app and ask for their ideas. You might find that some of them have thought about the same, and you can even partner. Letting them know you intend to use their ideas to develop an app will save you from potential legal proceedings should you be successful.
4. Find Problems and gaps
There are many applications out there that are designed to solve problems that people face every day. These problems can be from any area from communications to lifestyle. Try and find such problems and solve them with an app. You might also have looked for an app online, and you couldn’t find it. Make one.
Your friends can help you identify these problems and gaps too. Conducting a research online especially in the android’s play store and apple’s app store will help you identify any gaps. You can also look into existing apps to find those that are under-performing and develop better versions of them.
5. Search for ideas on Social Media
Social media is a great way for you to get an app idea. Many people take to social media to vent out their frustrations or share their thoughts. You can identify many problems or ideas that require an app there. Utilizing tools such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or Social Mention allows you to know what people need. Use keywords such as “I wish…” to collect information on these tools.
6. Imagine the Future
What will be the next big thing? Think about the future and then work backward to build it. Great apps and startups are innovative. They bring us the future to as today. Facebook gave us the future of communication while WhatsApp gave us the future of texting. Instead of waiting for others to trail blaze and then play catch up, think about the future and be the leader in that space.
7. Enhance the smartphone
An app should enhance the smartphone users experience. Explore the smartphone’s functionalities and think of a way to improve its performance. You can either identify ways to improve existing features (like those calculator apps or the popular Truecaller) or add something missing (like the torch apps). Think of how you can also turn your smartphone into another device like how some apps transform a phone to a flashlight or a scanner.
8. Keep a journal and meditate
Meditating and keeping a journal might seem like a crazy advice for someone looking to get a mobile app idea but it helps. Meditating helps you clear your mind which is important when trying to come up with a great idea, any great idea. A journal, on the other hand, helps you record your thoughts and experiences. You probably have had an idea before, and you couldn’t remember the details days later. That could have been a million-dollar idea. Keep a record of your ideas on a journal.
Everything will ultimately boil down to research. There is no escaping research when you are looking for app ideas. The research will not only help you get new app ideas but also help you explore the market for your mobile app.
Once you have a solid app idea, register as a developer and then get a programmer to code. Remember to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the programmer before sharing your idea. If you are looking to make money with the app, start by developing app for iOS.
There are more than 2 million mobile apps in the android and apple app stores today. Many more apps are not on these platforms. Many people are coming up with an app idea, and there is no reason you cannot do the same. Just remember that mobile apps are not just about the money. It is about providing a solution to a problem. Sometimes it’s also just about fun and entertainment. Do this and you might develop the next uber or angry birds.